Will Pucovski could make his first-class cricket comeback for Victoria next week as the talented batter targets a return from his 11th concussion.
The 24-year-old has put his hand up for selection for the Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania, starting at the Junction Oval next Tuesday.
Pucovski trained with some members of the Victoria squad this week, after returning to competitive action via club cricket on the weekend.
Emma Murray, a mind coach who has worked extensively with Pucovski, says he is desperate to play.
“When we get hit on the head a certain number of times and we have a particularly bad concussion what can happen… our whole nervous system shuts down,” she told SEN.
“What’s really been difficult is any hit to the head now triggers that nervous response and it doesn’t necessarily always mean he’s going to be out for a long time with concussion.
“It’s out of his control because his nervous system is going to panic when something hits his head.
“I really hope, one day, we’re able to look at Will’s journey and see how much it changes the way we look at the mental side of sport.
“I believe Will will get there and he’ll do incredible things in cricket, we’ve just got to support him.”
The right-handed opener has been on the sidelines since being struck in the head by a volleyball during a warm-up before play in Adelaide last month.
That match against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval was Pucovski’s return to first-class cricket from shoulder and concussion issues, after making his Test debut against India at the SCG in January 2021.
Pucovski notched up 54 in the first innings, before sitting out the final day of the match against the Redbacks.
His latest concussion immediately prompted calls to retire from cricket to protect his long-term health.
But Pucovski is keen to keep playing if doctors and specialists say it is safe to do so.
When fit and playing consistently, Pucovski would be a near certainty in Australia’s Test squad.
He has a first-class average of 53.42 from 25 matches with a top-score of 255 not out.